Athletics stadium deal wins final approval in Nevada Legislature

Athletics stadium deal wins final approval in Nevada Legislature

Following the Nevada Legislature’s final approval on Wednesday of public funding for a portion of a proposed $1.5 billion stadium with a retractable roof, the Oakland Athletics were able to move to Las Vegas, overcoming a significant obstacle.

Both the governor’s signature and MLB’s approval of the A’s move from California to the Las Vegas Strip are still required for the agreement, but both are anticipated. Backers of the deal said it would help further establish Las Vegas as the new “entertainment and sports capital of the world.”

After making a few minor adjustments to the measure that the Senate approved on a vote of 13-8 on Tuesday, just hours before the Vegas Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup, the state Assembly voted 25-15 to approve the final version of the bill with $380 million in taxpayer money.

As an “emergency measure” adopted during the special legislative session that convened on June 7 with Democratic majorities in both houses, the Senate accepted the changes without any debate on a voice vote. It was sent to the governor’s desk. The stadium spending plan had been proposed by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo.

The Associated Press inquired for comments Wednesday night but did not receive a response right away. In a statement released by the team, the A’s stated that they “Lombardo’s signature as our next step” as they “work to bring the Athletics to Las Vegas.”

$180 million in transferable tax credits and $120 million in county bonds would make up the majority of the $380 million in public funding. Backers have pledged that the establishment of the smallest MLB-sized special tax district around the proposed stadium would generate sufficient funds to pay off the bonds and interest. Taxes would not be directly raised by the plan.

The national debate regarding public funding for private sports clubs had been revived by the Nevada plan. A’s representatives and some Nevada tourism officials have stated that the measure could contribute to the expanding sports scene in Las Vegas and act as a driving force for the economy. However, a growing number of economists and some legislators have expressed concern that such a project would provide few benefits in comparison to the substantial cost to the public.

Due to a lack of funding for Nevada’s overcrowded classrooms, inadequate child care services, and “people sleeping on the streets,” Assemblywoman Selena La Rue Hatch, D-Reno, stated Wednesday night that she could not support the public financing.

“No amount of amendments are going to change the fact we are giving millions of public dollars to a billionaire,” she said.

The publicly owned stadium would not be subject to property taxes for the A’s under the deal that was approved on Wednesday. Additionally, Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, would provide a credit of $25 million for infrastructure costs. Some of the money that had been intended for homeless programs was shifted to low-income housing funds in the final version of the bill.

The A’s failed attempt to replace Oakland Coliseum, where they have played since moving from Kansas City, Missouri, for the 1968 season, was won by the Legislature’s vote. In the past, the team wanted to build a stadium in Fremont, California, as well as in San Jose, California, and finally on the Oakland waterfront. None of these plans were ever realized.

Following the vote, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao stated that three pieces of legislation supporting the construction of a new A’s ballpark at the city’s Howard Terminal had been passed by the California Legislature.

“The A’s have been part of Oakland for more than half a century, and they belong in this city,” she said in a statement. “There is no city that has worked harder to meet the needs of a team than Oakland.”

Along the Las Vegas Strip, the new 30,000-seat baseball stadium is planned. It is close to the Knights’ T-Mobile Arena and another stadium that is home to the NFL’s Raiders, who also moved from Oakland to southern Nevada in 2020.

The Raiders’ $2 billion Allegiant Stadium would have received $750 million in public funding from hotel room taxes had it not been for a last-minute Nevada special session bill in 2016.

The expansion hockey team’s arena did not receive any funding from the public.

Proponents of new stadiums have argued that tax incentives prevent decades-old businesses from leaving places like Oakland and Buffalo, New York. However, Nevada’s debate was different. The state’s economy is already heavily reliant on tourism and entertainment, and lawmakers or appointed boards have long discussed diversifying the economy to justify incentives for companies like Tesla.

According to Assemblywoman Shea Backus, a Democrat from Las Vegas, major league baseball will build on the excitement surrounding the Raiders, Golden Knights, and WNBA’s Aces in a city that had no major professional sports prior to 2016. This is in addition to creating 14,000 construction jobs and permanent jobs that are subject to collective bargaining.

Backus stated, “It is clear Las Vegas is clearly becoming the entertainment and sports capital of the world with the Aces winning a national championship last year and the Golden Knights securing the Stanley Cup just last night.”

Topics #Athletics stadium deal #MLB #Nevada Legislature

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